In fact, the next time the Knicks see Crawford, he is likely to be wearing the uniform of the Portland Trail Blazers or the Sacramento Kings.
Andy Miller, Crawford’s agent, confirmed Wednesday evening that Crawford, a former Knick and consistent offensive force, had not been persuaded by protracted lobbying from the Knicks’ front office to join the team for a cap-constrained $2.5 million salary.
Crawford can make twice that, or even more, with other teams, and, not surprisingly, that is what he has decided to do. Portland or Sacramento will probably be his next destination.
Coach was among the Knicks officials who had tried to recruit Crawford. D’Antoni told reporters Wednesday that he had spoken with Crawford by telephone several times recently.
“You do a lot of groveling and try to paint the best picture possible,” D’Antoni said at a point in the day when Crawford had not yet said no the Knicks. “You have a relationship with players and you know it’s a business decision, and that’s what they have to do, but make him feel comfortable that if they choose us that there’s a role and what his role will be and how much we like him and think of his game.”
On Tuesday, Crawford turned down a two-year, $10 million offer from the Indiana Pacers. Portland, meanwhile, may be appealing because of its proximity to his native Seattle. But Sacramento could potentially offer more money than Portland.
In any case, Crawford will not be setting up shop in Madison Square Garden, displaying his long-range touch and giving D’Antoni the offense he needs to bolster a roster that is thin after the starting frontcourt of Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and A’mare Stoudemire.
In 2008, Crawford played in 11 games with the Knicks under D’Antoni, then was traded to Golden State as part of the team’s effort to clear salary-cap space for the free-agent class of 2010.
With Crawford no longer a Knicks option, the team is likely to offer the $2.5 million cap exception to either Shawne Williams, who played for the Knicks last season, or Maurice Evans, a 6-foot-5 swingman who finished the 2010-11 season with the Washington Wizards.
The Knicks also have some interest in guard Baron Davis, who was waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night, but they want to ascertain the extent of his back injury first. Davis, 32, was let go under the league’s new amnesty clause, which allowed Cleveland to knock the $28 million he is owed over the next two seasons off the salary cap.
Meanwhile, Anthony’s return to practice was a positive step for the Knicks as they prepared for their first exhibition game, against the Nets on Saturday. But Bill Walker sat out for a second straight practice because of a strained left groin muscle.
Anthony hyperextended his left knee in a collision in practice on Monday and was held out of practice on Tuesday. Anthony said that he intended to play Saturday and that his off-season preparation had aided in his relatively speedy recovery.
“I feel much better,” he said. “I think yesterday the treatment I did, the workout I did and just resting it a little bit really helped out. It was scary when it first happened, the way I fell down and that feeling. Any time you have a knee injury, it gets scary. But I’m good.”
The veteran guard Richard Hamilton, a three-time All-Star, signed with Chicago. (AP)